Head Coach John Stutzman announced UB Wrestling's 2016-17 schedule today and much like last year it's highlighted by several powerhouse teams and nationally prestigious in-season tournaments.
The Bulls will kickoff their season on November 13th with a roadtrip to the Albany-area to take part in the Journeymen Classic held by the Journeymen Wrestling Club. For those of you that follow the Wrestling team you may notice that the event is titled differently than the usual Northeast Duals that Journeymen usually puts on every November. The format has been changed to a round-robin tournament and UB will have the chance to square off with some of the top teams in the nation including: NC State, Ohio State and Oklahoma, which combined to produce 9 All-Americans last season.
Things don't get much easier as they will head to Ithaca the following week to take on perennial top-10 team Cornell on the 19th before competing in the New York State Collegiate Championships the following day. This will be the first time UB has faced the Big Red since the 2000-2001 season when the Bulls won 21-19.
UB will then end November with a return to Madison Square Garden for the 5th annual Grapple at the Garden. This is after sending 3 grapplers there this past season to compete in the NCAA National Championships. UB will face George Mason and Princeton at the duals.
UB will then open MAC play with a trip to Athens, Ohio to face the Bobcats on December 4th before making their season debut in Alumni Arena on December 11th hosting rival Kent State. UB will then face a Big 10 team for the second year in a row when they head to Bloomington, Indiana to take on the Hoosiers. UB is 0-3 all-time against the Hoosiers, losing their last meeting 27-8 in the 2003-2004 season; however, with UB's improvement across the board I believe Stutzman's squad can have their 2nd win against a Big 10 squad in as many years.
Then, UB will close out 2016 with another trip to the Midlands Championships held by Northwestern in Chicago and to the Lock Haven Invitational held by Lock Haven in Lock Haven, Pennsylvania.
Stutzman's squad will then start 2017 with a 3-dual homestand against in-state foe Columbia on January 7th, Sacred Heart, who Stutzman is undefeated against in dual action during his tenure as UB's coach, the following day on the 8th and ending with a battle against reigning MAC Champion Missouri on January 12th. Getting at least a 2-1 record out of the first stretch of the year will be cruicial toward building the ever-important 2nd half momentum that teams can use to push into the playoffs.
UB will close out January with roadtrips to MAC foe Old Dominion, who UB beat in a thriller 19-15 last season for Sutzman's first MAC dual victory, and another trip downstate to Hofstra on January 28th.
UB's final two home matches come at the start of February with visits from Eastern Michigan on the 3rd and Central Michigan on the 5th, with the dual against the Chippewas being senior day. Then, UB will end the regular with trips to Northern Iowa, Northern Illinois before closing out against SUNY rival Binghamton.
The MAC Championships will be held March 4th and 5th at Northern Iowa with the NCAA Championships taking place in St. Louis March 16th-18th.
Overall, this is another competitive and challenging season for head coach John Stutzman's squad. It'll be a tall task to best the 10 win season that the team produced last season; doing so will likely mean that UB will need to have a winning record in the MAC for the first time since the 2000-2001 season. But, with the youth movement still moving strong and nearly the entire starting lineup returning from last season this team will be very exciting to watch.